Monday, February 29, 2016

America's fascist moment

So, here we are on Feb. 29, 2016.

The presumably putative Republican presidential nominee, de-facto fascist Donald Trump, refuses to outright repudiate the support of noted white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, feigning an ignorance of Duke that he certainly does not possess. And, in light of this, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, had a question:

"I mean, is he really so stupid that he thinks Southerners aren't offended by the Ku Klux Klan? Is he really so ignorant of Southern voters that he thinks this is the way to their heart -- to go neutral, to play Switzerland when you're talking about the Klan!?"

I THINK Scarborough overestimates the virtue of Southern voters and underestimates the moral rot that has hollowed out the United States. If what Scarborough says is true, Trump would go down in flames tomorrow, "Super Tuesday," where most of the primary states are in the South.

He won't.

The candidate who also favorably retweeted a quote by Benito Mussolini will sweep through the South and all but lock up the Republican nomination. Listen, a Louisiana cousin of mine once actually said on Facebook, during a dust-up over banishing Confederate symbolism from the public square, "Sadly, the South lost the war." The Civil War.

And polling in the wake of Trump's overwhelming victory in the South Carolina GOP primary reveals that Southerners like my Confederate-loving kinfolk are far from isolated basket cases in the region's sociopolitical economy:
Mr. Trump’s support among those who say they support a temporary ban on Muslim entry into the United States — a notion Mr. Trump first advanced in early December — is significant. He won more than twice as many supporters of the ban in South Carolina as any other candidate. Voters often echo the things candidates say on the campaign trail, so that level may not be revelatory.

Possibly more surprising are the attitudes of Mr. Trump’s supporters on things that he has not talked very much about on the campaign trail. He has said nothing about a ban on gays in the United States, the outcome of the Civil War or white supremacy. Yet on all of these topics, Mr. Trump’s supporters appear to stand out from the rest of Republican primary voters.

Data from Public Policy Polling show that a third of Mr. Trump’s backers in South Carolina support barring gays and lesbians from entering the country. This is nearly twice the support for this idea (17 percent) among Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s voters and nearly five times the support of John Kasich’s and Ben Carson’s supporters (7 percent).

Similarly, YouGov data reveal that a third of Mr. Trump’s (and Mr. Cruz’s) backers believe that Japanese internment during World War II was a good idea, while roughly 10 percent of Mr. Rubio’s and Mr. Kasich’s supporters do. Mr. Trump’s coalition is also more likely to disagree with the desegregation of the military (which was ordered in 1948 by Harry Truman) than other candidates’ supporters are.

The P.P.P. poll asked voters if they thought whites were a superior race. Most Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 78 percent — disagreed with this idea (10 percent agreed and 11 percent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s supporters, only 69 percent disagreed. Mr. Carson’s voters were the most opposed to the notion (99 percent), followed by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz’s supporters at 92 and 89 percent. Mr. Rubio’s backers were close to the average level of disagreement (76 percent).

According to P.P.P., 70 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters in South Carolina wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds. (It was removed last summer less than a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 percent of them wish the South had won the Civil War. Only a quarter of Mr. Rubio’s supporters share that wish, and even fewer of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

Nationally, further analyses of the YouGov data show a similar trend: Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

Mr. Trump’s popularity with white, working-class voters who are more likely than other Republicans to believe that whites are a supreme race and who long for the Confederacy may make him unpopular among leaders in his party. But it’s worth noting that he isn’t persuading voters to hold these beliefs. The beliefs were there — and have been for some time.
SO, WE AGAIN come to the question at hand: How have we come to this moment in American history? How have we arrived at the point where the party of Abraham Lincoln is about to nominate a fascist vulgarian as its candidate for president of the United States?

The correct answer probably is the most obvious one. Moral rot, elite decadence and economic hardship had turned an electoral majority of Germans into willing Nazis by 1933, and the same factors in 2016 likewise have unleashed the American Id.

It is our very own, all-American fascist moment, summoned forth like a demon within -- not by an exorcist delivering it to the wrath of a holy God but, instead, by a megalomaniac desiring to channel the darkness for his own malevolent ends.

Friday, February 26, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Shtick happens. Or not.

I looked and looked and looked for a gimmick, a theme, a shtick for this week's episode of the Big Show.

I got nothin'.

So this week's 3 Chords & the Truth will be completely shtick-free. No gimmicks. No overarching theme. No cutesy-pie crapola. Just me and you . . . and the music.

One hopes that will be enough. It ought to, you know? Because aren't we all getting tired of people's shticks?

That is all.

Just listen to the unvarnished program, if you please. It's here. Or down there. Or over there.

So . . . it's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all, Be there. Aloha.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I spy a numbers station

Rikki don't lose that number
You don't wanna call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Rikki don't lose that number
It's the only one you own
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home
-- Steely Dan

Natasha callink Boris . . . Natasha callink Boris. . . . 

Important message for Boris!

Uno, dos, siete, cuatro, cuatro, seis, ocho, tres, nueve. . . . 

If you hear a strange station on shortwave that's just counting -- usually in Spanish -- it's a spy . . . somewhere . . . sending coded messages to other spies . . . somewhere.

I USED to pick up these stations all the time when I was a kid. They seemed incredibly mysterious back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

That's because they were. And are.

Still, it's somehow reassuring to know the cloak-and-dagger folks stiil do that voodoo that they do old school, though Natasha here has incorporated a dial up-style modem into her sleuthy transmissions to Boris Badenov . . . wherever he might be.

In this case -- now that advanced computing is available to the average listener -- I was fortunate enough to decode this particular message in just a couple of hours. Here is the transcript:

Attention: Agent Badenov. STOP.
Inform Comrade Putin that Operation Combover is more successful than we had hoped. STOP. Now calculate odds of Donald Trump securing Republican nomination at 74 percent. STOP. The American voter is much more stupid than previous intelligence indicated. STOP.
With luck in November, American hegemony will be finished. STOP. With very good fortune, we could turn this into a second American civil war. STOP.

Awaiting further instructions. STOP.
Signed, Natasha.

Hitchin' a spin

This evening, after watching the network news and its tales of death, mayhem and Trump -- and then reports about all the non-campaign goings-on -- I found myself with a stark choice.

Happy, poppy tunes from 1971 or slitting my wrists.

I trust I made the wise choice. Thank you, Vanity Fare, wherever you are.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Trump protests he's just as Christian as the next POS

-- Donald Trump

Says the man who cites "two Corinthians," when trying to bamboozle Evangelical voters.

If the vicar of Christ, who Catholics believe to hold "the keys to the Kingdom," given to him in Matthew 19 minutes after 16 o'clock, doesn't have the right to proclaim Donald Trump not a Christian in any sense we're given to understand the term, then who the hell does?

Donald Trump, obviously:

FRANKLY, I don't really care whether the Donald is a Christian. Like the pope, I have my serious doubts on the question.

What I do care about is that he's a loose-cannon neofascist who plays to and feeds off the darkest human instincts among the angriest and most alienated (generally for good reason) Americans.

What I also care about is that, in the world of Trump, those of us who believe what the Catholic Church proclaims are somehow, no doubt, un-American. And if that were the case, it's a label I'd wear with pride.

Donald, whether you're a Christian or not, you can go straight to hell.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sounds just right. Not perfect, right

OK, there are better record changers out there than this 1956-vintage Zenith.

To be overly truthful, it's really a rebranded Voice of Music 1200-series unit with a "Cobra" tone arm stuck on it. There are even better changers of this vintage out there, if you're willing to pay up.

But to me, this sounds absolutely right. Just enough rumble, a wee bit of hum . . . it sounds like youth. My youth. It sounds like a console stereo in the living room, with the grown-ups playing their music on it.

You can almost smell the hot vacuum tubes burning off a thin coating of dust . . . even when your amp in 2016 is quite solid state. If you're over 50, you KNOW that smell, and you know it well enough to smell it in your mind's nose.

No, sometimes with the right album, you don't want sound that's perfect. You want sound that's right.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Sackcloth and smashes

OK, now it's Lent. The season of penance.

But that doesn't mean we have to be miserable. This is no time to be a gloomy Gus.

Remember, nowhere does it say "Thou shalt be a mope." So we're not, because -- dang it -- this is the Big Show!

And we at 3 Chords & the Truth will meet Lent with music. Good music.

And so will you. All thou needest to do is hearken and findeth thou joy.

God said.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Elvis Costello reports on the election

Look what she's done to my show, Ma

Cap, this right here is why Steve Harvey is hosting Family Feud. And you ain't.

It's the worst contestant in the history of television game shows giving the worst answer, and then a worser answer, and then back to the first worst answer, and then the worser one again . . . and they're all answers that have been given already.

Oh, Lord have mercy, if that had been me, I would have burned my face off in a klieg light, while sticking a fork into a 220-volt outlet. While standing in a tub of water . . . I'd want to make sure.

And Steve turns it all into comedic gold . . . most of which will be edited out of the final program.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Satan overplays his hand

Yes, the National Abortion Rights Action League would like you to believe that fetuses actually are toasters, not humans.

The insanity of these people is self-evident, as is their humorlessness and rigid ideology. The devil may have all the good tunes, but he has to own the angry, death-loving harpies as well.

OH . . . Angry Scolds for Death hated this Hyundai ad, too. Perhaps Kevin Hart was messin' with their business model; I dunno.

At any rate, I stand with Jim Minardi. Even the devil drunk tweets from time to time, ending up overplaying his hand and giving us all a glimpse behind the unholy veil.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Play me somethin', Mister!

Throw you somethin'?

You want me to throw you somethin'?

All right, I'm gonna throw you somethin'. Can you handle what I'm gonna throw you?

It's Mardi Gras time, and we're gonna throw lots at you on the Big Show. And you can even keep your shirt on.

We may be partying, but we're not louts.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

And jockamo fe-na-nay.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

To Title IX or not to Title IX, that is the #^#%!@& question

Click on the top-left speaker icon for audio, which is NSFW

At Louisiana State University, this will not get you arrested:
LSU students hurled obscenities, ice and objects during and immediately after the Tigers’ 77-75 loss in men’s basketball Saturday against No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.

Obscene chants directed at Oklahoma star shooting guard Buddy Hield rose from the packed student section on two or three occasions during the game. After the game, students booed and threw ice and towels as the Sooners left the court on a corner of the court at the end where the student section is located.

The actions drew denouncements from national media as well as LSU athletic director Joe Alleva.

“I am very disappointed with the language used by our students,” Alleva said Monday. “They should act with class and respect our opponents. Their language is embarrassing and motivates our opponent.”

A request for comment Monday morning from LSU President F. King Alexander did not immediately draw a response.

According to LSU police, there were no arrests or charges filed associated with behavior at Saturday's game.

AT LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, exercising one's First Amendment right as a holy roller preacher to tell college students they're going to the lake of fire for their fornicatin', whoremongerin' ways sure as H-E-double-toothpicks will get you busted by campus cops -- or at least threatened with arrest. This at the now-ironically titled Free Speech Alley in front of the LSU Student Union.

The PC scofflaw here was an "intern" of Brother Jed Smock, who is no stranger to LSU -- or many other U.S. campuses. Jed and his wife, Sister Cindy Lassiter Smock, have been damning American college students to hell since I was an LSU student in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At least.

Back then, there was no question that Brother Jed and Sister Cindy had an absolute right to call us whores, whoremongers, fornicators, blasphemers or any other sort of wretch offensive to the Almighty's sensibilities.

Sister Cindy at LSU, early 1980s
Or at least those of Brother Jed and Sister Cindy's seriously fundamentalist brand of Christianity.

And that's OK. There was little doubt that many of us, in fact, were whores, whoremongers, fornicators, blasphemers and general offenders against right judgment and God's Word.

There also was little doubt that LSU students of my era gave as good as we got. In fact, Sister Cindy once whacked yours truly upside the head with her Bible for offending her as grievously as she offended me. Thirty-something years on, I can say with great confidence that I royally deserved it.

I did not, however, call the cops. Some precious little LSU snowflake, on the other hand, did just that the other week after a mean Mini Jed -- Brother Joshua -- offended her delicate sensibilities. Because he apparently said the most dangerous place in America today was in a black woman's womb, referencing the proportionally high incidence of abortion in the African-American community.

Judging by the response of campus police, the second most dangerous place in America today is Louisiana State University -- at least if you intend to loudly say impolite things while not in Tiger Stadium or the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Within the safe confines of athletic venues, however, chant "F*** YOU, SABAN!" or "F*** YOU, BUDDY!" as loudly and as often as you like.

But for the LSU po-po, apparently, it's just gender- or race-referencing Bible-thumping in a "free speech" zone that's a no-no. Because of Title IX which, according to these constitutional lawyers in blue, trumps the First Amendment.

FRANKLY,  if I were in the preacher's shoes and the cop had told me something as ridiculous as that, I would have been tempted to reply with the Assembly Center version of what passes for "protected speech" at LSU. Which, of course, would have gotten me handcuffed as surely as Louisiana's state budget turns a bright red every spring.

To be clear, I don't much care for Brother Jed's brand of Christianity or his not-so-merry band's evangelistic tactics. I think they do more to retard than advance the Kingdom of God. I think they're obnoxious, self-righteous and theologically messed up in many ways.

I know that my opinion means less than nothing to them because, for one thing, I'm Catholic. And the more faithful of a Catholic I become, the more Jed, Cindy and Joshua would be convinced that I will burn in the LAKE . . . OF . . .  FIIIRRRRRRRE! 

But, again, that's OK. It's a free country -- well, at least if you're not at LSU or many other American universities. The First Amendment, which last I heard has not been trumped by a mere act of Congress, exists for those times when people really, really don't want to hear what you have to say.

Like this: The LSU administration is a bunch of f***ing hypocrites. (I trust the F-word makes this protected speech in the eyes of the Ol' War Skule.) You know, the kind who tolerate loutish students hurling vulgar abuse upon a black Oklahoma basketball star but want to lock up a street preacher for saying the womb has become a dangerous place for black babies.

And for non-vulgarly accusing students of being what they regularly present themselves as on national TV.

Monday, February 01, 2016

#TheJimReaper cometh for Omaha

Snowy death descendeth upon us, bald headed and flying Delta. May God have mercy on our souls.

Snowpocalypse is ready when you are.